Bottega Veneta’s is the last major fall 2021 collection we haven’t seen. When the label hosted a salon presentation for it back in April in Berlin the tiny guest list made an outsized impression online—it took place amidst Germany’s lockdowns.
This is not that collection. It’s an outing that Bottega Veneta calls Wardrobe 02, a pre-season lineup of essentials sprinkled with a few of the Daniel Lee-masterminded whimsies that have become collector’s items. Yes, the company will be selling the roller skates that Oumi Janta and Malick Bodian model in these pictures. It’s also a branding exercise, with a lookbook lineup that includes, in addition to the rollerskaters, the musicians Andra Day, Skepta, and Neneh Cherry; the dancer Roberto Bolle; artist Mark Leckey; and Central Saint Martins’s BA fashion course leader Sarah Gresty, a friend of Lee’s from his school days. “It’s people who we aspire to see in the clothes,” he said on a phone call. “And there’s big diversity, from music, film, dance, theater, art, skateboarding.”
As that roster suggests, and as previous Lee runways have told us, there’s nothing conservative about BV essentials. For Lee and his team, clothing is performance. That’s clear from a look that’s befeathered in aqua blue plumes from its high neckline to its pants hem, from an intricately beaded knit BV-green evening dress, and from a giant leather belt that twists around the torso like a helix. But it also goes for straight-world passing tailoring. The tweed suits are boardroom-safe, but they’re definitely not boring.